Art and Creative Director Careers Tips

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Do creative directors have particular personality characteristics?

The Creative Director Personality

Is there an "ideal personality" that all creative directors have? The chances of all these professionals sharing the same characteristics is slim, but there are some personality traits that just may make the job a bit easier. Here are a few:

  • A strategic mind. Where art directors need to be able to see layout, creative directors need to understand how the entire publication fits in with the voice and style of the organization. This requires the ability to think strategically.
  • A strong creative streak. Any title that actually has the word "creative" in it is pretty self-explanatory. It isn't enough to be a little creative, however. You should have ideas that really set you apart from the crowd.
  • Organizational capacity. This goes hand-in-hand with strategic thinking. Managing the big picture means that you have to be able to see all the moving parts and keep track of them.
  • The ability to accept risk. Not every idea or direction will work out for the creative director. Having the ability to accept a bit of risk is a crucial characteristic that most people in this position share.
  • The ability to lead. Creative directors have to be able to lead a team and keep it on target.

   
What education do I need in order to become a freelance creative director?

Creative Directors: Education Basics

If you are thinking about becoming a freelance creative director, you may wonder what type of education you'll need. This is actually not an easy question to answer. For the most part, creative directors move up to this type of position based on their experience and talent, not on schooling alone. That said, certain backgrounds in a variety of education programs can help build a solid foundation for this type of career.

For the advertising field, having a degree in fine arts or communication design is a great way to show you know the basics. Some creative directors have a background or degree in copywriting, and simply show an aptitude for design work in addition to their writing. Regardless of the actual degree you have, being able to display a wide range of technical skills is extremely desirable, so familiarity with a variety of graphic design software is also an advantage. If you are going to go freelance, it is a good idea to have already done some work at this level for an established company.

   
What types of jobs are possible once you become an art director?

Art Directors: Diverse Work Responsibilities

If you are an art director looking for creative director work, chances are you will be well prepared. Most art directors have numerous responsibilities, which often overlap with those expected of creative directors. Art direction has to do with creative concepts, layout and style. This can mean many different things—from working with copywriters to implementing the ideas set forth by those setting the direction of the company.

Layout work requires a savvy technical side. Art directors will often work with programs such as In Design or Photoshop to create pages or imagery for a particular catalogue or campaign. They also need to be able to work well with people, as fine-tuning pages often means revisions are being asked of the copywriters. The art director must wear many hats in order to get the job done, but doing this type of work can open the doors for a move up to a creative director position if done well. Both are "big picture" jobs.

   
How can you become a creative director?

Creative Director Positions

Creative director positions are coveted, and there are many reasons for this. The job is typically seen at the top of the field, and it comes with considerable power, as well as a good salary. If you have been in advertising for a while, you may want to set your cap for this position and work your way toward it. Many creative directors have worked their way up through the ranks, working as art directors or designers in their early days.

Although it makes for a desirable career, there can also be a lot of pressure that comes along with this job. Creative directors are responsible for the direction that ad campaigns run in terms of vision. This can be quite the challenge, and the finished product will reflect directly on the creative director.

If you have been in the field for a while, chances are you may want to try for a creative director position. It may be worth it to sign on with a talent agency if you want to begin interviewing for this type of job. The agency can scout out any openings that are in your area and set up interviews for you.

   
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Barbara Gibson